Spring is here! Everywhere I go, I see mounds of brilliant yellow daffodils and smell the sweet fragrance of Daphne. After such a drab, gray winter, I am ready for some color. Luckily, we have a number of local parks and gardens where I can easily see flowers in bloom throughout the growing season.
If you also enjoy flowers and gardens, here are nine near-by locations to explore. If you plan well, blooms from these gardens and parks should take you through spring and well into summer. All of these locations are within easy driving distance and are listed here in terms of closeness to downtown Cottage Grove.
Located in downtown Cottage Grove, the All-America City Square (aka Opal Park) is a nice spot of color amongst the historic brick buildings. The Cottage Grove Garden Club has been planting and maintaining this park for the past 8 years and it was even featured in an episode of GardenTime TV. I like visiting this little park from mid-spring through summer.
Gardens at the Village Green Resort
The formal courtyard and gardens around Village Green Resort are beautiful throughout the growing season, and as a gardener, I’ve often gotten inspiration for plants and plant combinations while wondering through their grounds. If you have time, be sure to see the strolling gardens in the back.
This small “pocket garden” is tucked next to the Cottage Grove Hospital. Designed in 2004 by the Oregon Heather Society, I’ve found color in the heather garden throughout the year. (Admittedly, I just drove past this garden and it was looking a little worse for the wear, hopefully it will pop back into shape with some spring sunshine.)
Bake Stewart Park
I love natives as much, or maybe even more, than your standard garden flower, and I think the best place in south Lane County to see native flowers is Bake Stewart Park. Early spring through about June is the best time to see nature’s garden on display.
Hendricks Park in Eugene is well-known for it spring blooming rhododendrons, and rightly so, it is a gorgeous park. I like strolling through the gardens at any time of the year, but going during peak bloom (probably mid-April through May) is a must if you like rhododendrons and azaleas, or if you like looking at flowers in general.
Ruff Memorial Park
The Wallace M. Ruff Jr. Memorial Park is a 10-acre magnolia demonstration garden located in north Springfield. Deciduous magnolias usually have very large flowers that bloom in the early spring before any leaves appear. The best time to see them in bloom is probably March through April.
Owen Rose Garden
I love roses but have a hard time growing them, so a visit to Owen Rose Garden in Eugene is always a treat for me. The rose garden is beautiful for many months but June is probably best time for seeing the most roses in bloom.
Hinsdale Rhododendron Garden
When we visited Hinsdale Rhododendron Garden a couple years ago, we were handed an 11 x 17 sheet of paper listing all the different plant species located in the garden. The writing was small and covered both sides of the sheet. Rhododendron lovers will love the hunt, the variety, and seeing some extremely old rhododendrons. The rest of us will enjoy the color while strolling the paths along the Umpqua River. Seeing the Hinsdale Garden takes planning, it is located about 3 miles east of Reedsport and is open — at most — just a couple weekends a year (last year it wasn’t open at all).
Darlingtonia Natural Area
The Darlingtonia are native fly-eating plants that grow in fens and bogs where nutrients are hard to get from the soil. You can find them north of Florence at the Darlingtonia Natural Area. Just off a Highway 101, a 1/4-mile boardwalk takes you out into the bog so you can see them close up. Fascinating plants any time of year, dalingtonia bloom in the late spring.